Appalachia is pronounced Apple-atcha in the rural southern part of the region, and App-a-lay-sha in the northern most and less rural regions.
As a kid and young adult, I suffered correction when pronouncing the word like my family did – the rural “Apple-atcha” version.
But after long years of studying other people’s cultures and customs, I resolved to pronounce the word like my family, and not worry about it.
When I had my recent album pressed, the young man from the duplication plant called to tell me it was ready.
“Your CD App-a-lay-sha Kid is ready for pick up.” His voice raised on the title, the question of pronunciation in his statement.
“Apple-atcha Kid,” I corrected him.
“Ok, I didn’t know how you say it,” he replied.
Feeling emboldened I said, “It’s said Apple-atcha by those of us who are from there.”
“I’m from Vermont in the region of the App-a-lay-shin mountains,” he emphasized, “and we call it App-a-lay-sha.”
When I picked up the records, I apologized to him, “I got so tired of being corrected for the way I say it, and then I turned around and did it to you.”
He forgave me, and when I called back a few weeks later to reorder, he remembered to call the title, “Apple-atcha Kid.”
I get my albums pressed at We Make Tapes in Nashville, Tennessee, in case you’re wondering. They’re delightful people, and the company was originally founded by one of Elvis Presley’s best friends and lead guitarist Scotty Moore.
You can check them out on their website, and be sure to ask about the new vinyl record 100 – 200 pressings available for independent artists.